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Mental Mondays: How To Know If You’re Becoming A Toxic Parent

Mental Mondays: How To Know If You’re Becoming A Toxic Parent



o you feel overwhelmed and unsure if your actions are hurting your children? The good news is you’re not alone. The better news is, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate your parenting style. Being a parent is a challenging yet rewarding journey, but sometimes, without realizing it, toxic habits and behaviors can creep in. These unhealthy traits, even when unplanned, affect our children’s well-being.

It’s easy to read theoretical advice that doesn’t provide practical solutions. But what you should seek are realistic findings that break the cycle and help you become the supportive, loving parent your children deserve. No one has it on lockdown 24/7, but a willingness to be a better parent is a step in the right direction. Don’t wait until it’s too late when your kids become grown, and would rather keep you at a distance. Worse still, you pass on these toxic traits to them, and the cycle continues.

Impact of toxic parenting

A child’s development can suffer serious, long-lasting harm from toxic parenting. Children raised by toxic parents may experience mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Additionally, they could have trouble building strong relationships with others and suffer from challenges related to attachment and trust.

Parents must be aware of the warning signals of toxic parenting and make an effort to refrain from engaging in these actions. This may contribute to the development of a happier and more supportive home environment, which is advantageous to both parents and the kids.

How can you tell if you’re becoming a toxic parent?

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A parent that exhibits actions detrimental to their children’s physical, emotional, or psychological health is referred to as a toxic parent. These actions can include neglect, emotional manipulation, and verbal or physical abuse. Because we all claim to love our children more than anyone else in the world, it’s a hard pill to swallow when someone calls you out as a toxic parent. The first step is to prepare your heart to embrace your faults. This is a diagnosis that might hurt, and to be fair, undressing for circumcision will never be.

Am I a toxic parent? Check out 6 glaring signs to look out for…

#1. Lack of emotional support and empathy

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A toxic parent may be emotionally aloof from their children, failing to provide them with emotional support and empathy. They could also be judgmental, disrespectful, dismissive, or uncaring about their kids’ emotional needs.

#2. Continual criticism and negativity

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If you’re overly critical, this may be a sign that you’re becoming a toxic parent. This trait can make kids feel unworthy and under constant attack. A child could experience low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness. The next time you want to throw in a critical comment, ask yourself if it’s necessary.

#3. Controlling and manipulative

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A toxic parent may make manipulative attempts to influence their children’s actions, decisions, and relationships. This may limit a child’s autonomy and make them feel confined and suffocated. It’s true they are children and require guidance, but always shoving your rules down their throats isn’t the only option available.

#5. Blame-shifting and abdication of responsibility

Toxic parents may abdicate responsibility for their acts while placing the blame for issues on their kids or other people. Children may begin to feel they are always at fault, creating a poisonous home dynamic. As an African, this is a fact. Rather than admitting to their wrongs, most parents would sweep it under the carpet and offer you treats instead. An apology is so far-fetched that as an African child, it’s almost taboo expecting an apology from your parents.

#6. A toxic family environment

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Your behavior may contribute to the development of a toxic household where negativity, conflict, and abuse are commonplace. All family members may suffer negative effects, but children may be particularly hurt.

I remember a friend who told me she couldn’t sit with her dad in the same place. This started as a child. Once her father storms into the sitting room, the children run off in fear. It was perceived as disrespectful to sit and watch TV with him. Anytime her dad was home, the entire atmosphere of the home was tense. This is because some parents often confuse fear for respect. You don’t need your children’s fear, but their respect.

Check out 5 effective strategies for preventing toxic parenting

Photo: August de Richelieu/Pexels
  • Self-awareness: Being self-aware and reflecting on your parenting methods and attitudes is the first step in avoiding toxic parenting. Do you think you support and understand your child’s needs? Do you act negatively or in a controlling manner toward your child, for example? If your first instinct is to hit your child when they inconvenience you, perhaps there’s a problem.
  • Get support and assistance from a professional: If you are worried about the way you are parenting, you might want to talk to a mental health expert. As you strive to become a healthier and more understanding parent, they can offer advice and support. Once you sense you’re exhibiting signs of becoming a toxic parent, reach out for help. The earlier the better. Habits are formed.
  • Develop love ties with your kids: Maintaining healthy parenting requires you to develop loving relationships with your kids. This entails spending quality time with your kids, paying attention to their wants and needs, and creating a welcoming environment.
  • Foster a pleasant and encouraging family environment: A healthy family setting is defined by open and respectful communication and an absence of unnecessary conflict. Avoid toxic habits like arguing or criticizing to foster open and honest communication at home.
  • Acquire and hone excellent communication skills: Communication is the key to preventing toxic parenting. Spend time honing communication skills like active listening, empathy, and respectfully expressing your opinions and feelings. The part of respectfully conveying your hurts and displeasures is a true skill. It isn’t easy to suck it up when you feel offended and convey your message respectfully, but it’s doable with practice and self-restraint.

In conclusion

The well-being of both parents and children depends on identifying and avoiding harmful parenting practices. Parents can endeavor to become the greatest versions of themselves and foster a happier and healthier family dynamic by developing self-awareness, obtaining professional assistance, forming supportive relationships, learning effective communication techniques, and providing a supportive home environment.

Parents should be aware of how they act and think toward their kids and work to foster an environment that is friendly and encouraging. Although it might take some work and introspection, the rewards are well worth it.

Finally, it’s crucial for folks who might be having a hard time with toxic parenting behaviors to be aware that assistance is accessible. If you feel you’re becoming a toxic parent, ask for help from a mental health professional, join a support group, or talk to family and friends. Always make positive adjustments for your children’s sake. That’s true love.

Featured image: fizkes/iStock

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